Are you seeking pain relief? What is pain? Initially, it’s your body’s defence mechanism; it keeps you safe and free from injury or risk of further injury. How does your body react to pain? An often quoted example is touching a pin. Your first response is to withdraw your finger. This is because your nervous system in your spinal cord takes control to keep you safe. Then the signals move up to the brain where reason and rationale can take place. Your conscious mind h as established that the situation is not life threatening. You can decide on the next course of action to take, such as moving your finger, seeking pain relief or applying a plaster if it’s needed.
The pain process:
- Pain starts in one or more parts of the body.
- Pain signals move through nerves and up the spinal cord.
- The brain interprets the signals and natural painkillers are released.
- The level of pain is reduced.
Don’t ignore pain, it’s there for a reason. In the short term, it’s the body’s way of telling you there’s a problem that needs your attention. Pain occurs when there is tissue damage. However, once your wound heals, your body doesn’t have a useful need for the pain response.
Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.
– Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts
Sometimes, this is where wires become crossed and chronic pain can occur without any physical damage.
Nerve pain close to the skin can be felt as pins & needles, burning, cold, tingles and even a tearing sensation.
Internal organ pain may induce feelings of nausea or a deep or dull pain.
Pain linked to muscles, ligaments, tendons can also be felt as a dull ache and not easy to pin-point.
Sometimes pain can refer to other areas of your body. Pain in the left arm may be caused by a heart attack so it’s worth understanding the root cause of your pain.
Long-term pain can be felt in your mind and body. This type of combined pain can vary throughout the day and can also change from day to day. It can last for months, days or hours.
Our lifestyle and mental outlook can affect the production of chemical messengers within the body called neurotransmitters. These ‘messengers’ can increase or decrease pain levels. Stress, negativity and lack of exercise reinforces and increases pain levels. Whereas relaxation, reduced stress, exercise and positivity can decrease pain levels.
Ten ways to reduce pain:
- Focus on your breath or use distraction techniques
- Relax & mediation
- Restorative quality sleep
- Apply heat and/or cold to the area
- Reduce stress levels
- Encourage a positive outlook
- Exercise, even if it’s a gentle approach
- Use talking therapies, sometimes journalling helps (you don’t have to keep your thoughts)
As your body is dynamic and constantly changing you may choose different therapies at different times for different reasons. Find one or more therapies that work for you and you will ultimately find pain relief.